Friday, May 2, 2008

Meet the Biggest Loser

My sister told me she already knew I was the biggest loser and that I didn't need a contest to prove it. would think that she was a bit jealous, especially since she had to use WeightWatchers to achieve her goals. (Not that there's anything wrong with WeightWatchers, mind you.) But I will not let her bring me down on a day in which I am victorious and basking in the inner glow of my accomplishment. I have yet to talk to my trainer, Ben Schoenfeld, but goodness, gracious how wonderful it is to have set a goal and reached it. He is exactly what I wanted: a tough, hardened drill sergeant who forced me to do exercises I would never have dreamed of doing. He is keen on working on improving the core muscles so a lot of times in the circuit room I was balancing on some mechanism while using free weights. He is amazing and I look forward to moving forward with him as my journey towards fitness continues.
Kudos to Debbie Pesses of the Jewish Community Center for last night's excellent Yom HaShoah program featuring Dr. Mark Wygoda, a McNeese University professor and head of the department of zoology, who spoke on his father Hermann Wygoda. For those not familiar with the elder Wygoda's fight against the Nazis during World War II, I would recommend picking up a copy of "In the Shadow of the Swastika," his memoirs, which the younger Wygoda helped publish. In short, Hermann Wygoda resisted the Nazis by refusing to wear a Jewish yellow star. He spoke perfect German, which got him through many a close call and helped save his life on many an occasion. Eventually, he moved to the heart of the Nazi war machine in Berlin from his native Poland before taking off for Italy to join the partisans fighting against the German forces in Savona. Known as "Enrico," Wygoda ended the war as a division commander. Most of those he saved in Savona had no idea he was Jewish, much less that he wasn't German. A special tribute was given to Immaculate Conception School, whose middle school studies the Holocaust. Representatives of the school as well as many of the students who attend came to the somber ceremonies and witnessed how the survivors took them to heart. It was an incredible night of remembrance and a special time for those who were not born during the era, but who knew many of the victims and their relatives.

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